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Desiccant dehumidifier vs compressor dehumidifier

Desiccant Dehumidifiers vs Compressor Dehumidifiers

When it comes to dehumidifiers, there are two main types on the market: desiccant dehumidifiers and compressor dehumidifiers.

Both types of dehumidifier work to remove moisture from the air, but they do so in different ways. So, which type of dehumidifier is right for you?

What is a Desiccant Dehumidifier?

Desiccant Dehumidifiers, how they work

This is a device that removes moisture from the air by using a desiccant, which is a substance that can absorb water vapor. Desiccant dehumidifiers are used in many different applications, including residential and commercial settings, where they can help to control humidity levels.

Read more about Desiccant Dehumidifiers...

Desiccant dehumidifiers work by passing air over a desiccant material, which absorbs the water vapor from the air. The desiccant material can be a solid, such as Zeolite. The captured water vapor is then removed from the desiccant material by heating it. As the desiccant is heated it releases the water into the waste water tank and the dry air is then passed back into the room.

This cycles on continuously until the machine has reached your desired humidity setting.

While a desiccant dehumidifier can be used any time of year, they can also be used in cold temperatures or used un-heated rooms down to 1C making them ideal for cold climates.

Pro's and Con's of a Desiccant Dehumidifier

A desiccant dehumidifier can be a great way to remove moisture from the air, but there are some things to consider before you purchase one. Here are some of the pros and cons of owning a desiccant dehumidifier:

Desiccant Dehumidifier Pros

  • A desiccant dehumidifier is very effective at removing moisture from the air
  • They can be slightly quieter than compressor units when operating
  • Can work in summer and winter
  • They are low maintenance and do not have any ongoing part replacements
  • They will work extremely well in lower temperatures and un-heated spaces
  • Desiccants are compact and easy to move around
  • They can cover large areas

Desiccant Dehumidifier Cons

  • Desiccant dehumidifiers can be slightly more expensive to purchase
  • They can use slightly more electricity on higher settings
  • They do not have as high moisture removal capacity compared to some compressor models.
  • They can add up to 5 Degrees Celsius to your room's temperature

What are Compressor Dehumidifiers?

How Compressor Dehumidifiers  work
Compressor dehumidifiers work by using a compressor to remove water vapor from the air. The compressor compresses a gas that cools moisture removal pipes which forces the water vapor to condense. The condensed water is then collected in the waste water reservoir tank and can be emptied as needed.
Read more about Desiccant Dehumidifiers...

Compressor dehumidifiers are typically less expensive than desiccant dehumidifiers, both to purchase and to run. If you live in warmer climates, they can also be more effective. They can be used in small to large spaces and can remove large volumes of water vapor from the air.

However, they are not as effective in colder temperatures below 20C°, so if used in winter you will generally need to heat the space when running the machine. 

Pros and Cons of a compressor dehumidifier

Compressor dehumidifiers are one of the most popular types of dehumidifiers on the market. They are known for their ability to effectively remove moisture from the air, as well as being relatively quiet and easy to operate. However, like all appliances, there are both pros and cons associated with using a compressor dehumidifier.

Compressor Dehumidifier Pro's

  • Can remove very large amounts of moisture
  • Large range of sizes for varied application
  • Can be cheaper to run
  • Don't add as much heat to the room
  • Minimal maintenance and no ongoing replacement parts
  • Larger models come with wheels for easy maneuvering
  • Often more affordable

Compressor Dehumidifier Con's

  • They do not like cold temperatures. They become less efficient in temperatures below 20 Degrees Celsius, so they need to be in a heated room in winter
  • Compressor dehumidifiers can be slightly louder than a desiccant machine
  • Larger models are not as compact as desiccant units

Should I buy a Desiccant Dehumidifier or a Compressor Dehumidifier

If you're not sure which type of dehumidifier to choose, there are a few things to consider.

Room Size

Whether you are getting a desiccant or compressor dehumidifier, getting one that suits the room size is very important. It is always better to over size a machine for your room than to under size. A machine that is too small for a space will struggle to remove moisture efficiently and will put strain on the machine.

Room Temperature

If your room regularly drops below 20C then consider getting a desiccant unit.   

Desiccant dehumidifiers work all year round but perform very well in cold temperatures. So if you plan on using your unit in winter and the space you are drying out will be cold, then a desiccant machine is the best option.

Compressor dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are better suited for warmer climates or heated rooms. They are perfect for the tropics or warmer states where winters aren't so cold, or as mentioned, in heated rooms during winter months.

ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and what will work best for your needs. If you're unsure, just let us know and we'll help you choose the right one for your needs and budget. 


Unfortunately dehumidifiers do make a sound. It is part and parcel of their process of removing moisture and is an unavoidable thing that comes with territory.

Some people don't notice the sound while others do. Desiccant machines can often be slightly quieter than compressor units. But both types of machines use fans to draw in wet air and circulate the dry air and these fans are what you are mainly hearing. 

Whichever type you choose there will be some noise when you run them so it is good to be aware of this before purchasing. Typically their decibel range is between 38-48 dBa which we compare to a pedestal fan running on medium to high. If you are sensitive to certain sounds then we recommend running your dehumidifier when you are are not in the room. 

Who should use a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier can help to reduce the amount of humidity in the air, which helps to prevent the growth of mould and mildew. By reducing the amount of moisture in the air a dehumidifier can also help stop dust mites from breeding and make your home a much more comfortable place to live.A

People who have allergies, asthma, sinus issues or other respiratory problems should consider using a dehumidifier.

People who live in humid climates may also want to use a dehumidifier to help keep their homes comfortable.

Dehumidifiers are also helpful for people who have chronic illnesses that make them more susceptible to respiratory infections. People who live in mold-prone areas may also want to use a dehumidifier to help prevent the growth of mold in their homes.

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